As Coronavirus Death Toll Grows, Trump Wants to Reopen Businesses Soon
‘Numbers matter, because they’re not just numbers. They’re people, whose lives and families have been turned upside down.”
The world is fighting a global pandemic, and the United States is set to become one of the worst-hit countries in the world based on projections. The death toll sits at over 500 and is growing by the day.
Large parts of the country are shutting down, and New York has been confirmed to be an outbreak epicenter with cases rising massively in recent days.
The shuttering of business and public life is part of a strategy being adopted around the world to ‘flatten the curve’ or reduce the spread so healthcare systems are not overwhelmed.
But in a press conference last night, President Donald Trump said, “America will, again, and soon, be open for business, very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting, lot sooner.”
Trump’s message conflicts with recommendations from medical experts in the United States and around the world who have suggested a much longer shutdown.
Trump acknowledged this during the press conference, “if it were up to the doctors, they’d say let’s keep it shut down, let’s shut down the entire world… and let’s keep it shut for a couple of years.”
Trump held the press conference hours after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “the pandemic is accelerating.”
The change in Trump’s tone comes as the White House faces pressure to stimulate the economy as stock markets crash and businesses close, sending Americans home potentially without a paycheck. American lawmakers have also been unable to agree on a stimulus package, with Democrats and Republicans locked in a standoff over how to provide Americans financial aid.
President Trump has been criticized for sending out dangerous messages to the American public during the coronavirus pandemic including statements that downplay the lethality of the disease.
During his press conference yesterday, Trump compared the coronavirus to deaths by car accident, “you look at automobile accidents which are far greater than any numbers we’re talking about. That doesn’t mean we’re going to tell everybody: No more driving of cars.”
Trump also compared the death toll of the seasonal flu to the coronavirus, even though Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly clarified that the coronavirus is at least 10 times more deadly than the seasonal flu.
Going it Alone
Not only is President Trump at odds with his own scientific advisers, but he is also taking a different strategy than nearly every elected leader across the globe. Countries in Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa are shutting down completely and often putting their citizens under lockdown.
Trump has wavered back and forth on the seriousness of coronavirus, and now he is feeling the economic pressure. However, ‘reopening’ for business could potentially threaten the economy even more, and it will almost certainly lead to a massive, unnecessary loss of life.
Even Republican senators are in disagreement with Trump. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham tweeted, “try running an economy with major hospitals overflowing, doctors and nurses forced to stop treating some because they can’t help all, and every moment of gut-wrenching medical chaos being played out in our living rooms, on TV, on social media, and shown all around the world.”
While expert’s projections have been gloomy, the WHO has argued there is still time to act.
“Numbers matter, because they’re not just numbers. They’re people, whose lives and families have been turned upside down,” Tedros said, “but what matters most is what we do.”